The Dean is happy.
Washington Post columnist and "dean" of the Beltwaypress corps David Broder was one of the few people (not counting Republicans) who stood up to applaud Barack Obama's tax deal. Under the I-am-not-making-this-up headline "Centrist on the Rise," Broder (12/9/10) congratulated Obama, who has"separated himself from the left of his own party and staked a strong claim to the territory where national elections are fought and won: the independent center."
Obama has"begun to regain focus as the pragmatic liberal that he is–not the hard-line socialist Republicans make him out to be but a president far more practical and down to earth than his critics on the liberal flank of the Democratic Party. "
Reclaiming the "center,"of course, mostly means trouncing your base–and that's what Broder is cheering:
When their constituents see the fatter paychecks, Democratic members of Congress will have a hard time sustaining their carping about the lost opportunity to engage the GOP in an old-fashioned campaign against the fat cats.
Obama's move "wasn't a Sister Souljah moment," Broder warns, but this move to the righthas given Obama a chance "to define himself, more clearly than ever before, as a raging moderate." His conclusion: "This was the best showing for Obama in many months."
But wait a second. How exactly does a deficit hawk like Broder–who recently called for a drastic, British-style austerity program (FAIR Blog, 10/25/10)–reconcile Obama's base-bashing tax cuts with the hundreds of billions it will add to the federal debt? Apparently bashing liberals is a higher short-term priority; in the long-term, this will all somehow make slashing government spending easier:
Also, the $900 billion this deal will add to the national debt increases the pressure on Obama and Congress to undertake the kind of tough-love budgetary changes outlined by the presidential commission on deficits.
So the rich get tax cuts now, and the rest of us get "tough love" for the foreseeablefuture.That's "centrism," David Broder-style.